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Caramel Chameleon

Ordinarily, I post recipes as soon as they’re brewed, but with there being so many question marks on this one I felt that I needed to wait at least until I pulled the FG sample to weigh in. My first brew session in Colorado was full of other firsts too:

First time using a new [...]

Toward a Better Refractometer Correlation

Last month I posted a brief summary of the troubles I was having with the de facto standard refractometer correlation for final gravity. Specifically, I found that it under-estimates FGs by, on average, about five “points”. More interesting, or at least more useful, I also found that the degree of the discrepancy is fairly well [...]

Refractometer Estimates of Final Gravity

A refractometer is one of the most useful tools a brewer can have. It allows for near-instantaneous measurements of specific gravity, without having to compensate for or adjust sample temperature or withdraw a large volume of wort/beer (a significant concern at homebrew scales). There are a few issues associated with accurately using a refractometer for [...]

Thermometer Calibration

It’s spring cleaning time in the brewery. I’ve given the kegerator a good once-over, scrubbed the kettles shiny, replaced all the vinyl tubing, and so now it must be time for instrument calibrations. I check the hydrometer and refractometer every few batches because it’s so easy (use water and a 10% sucrose solution), but it [...]

Yeast Pitching Rate Results

Background

The ale yeast pitching rate generally recommended by commercial brewers is one billion cells, per liter of wort, per degree Plato. Assuming a 25% loss in viability prior to re-pitching results in the rule of thumb of 0.75 billion/L-°P. However, yeast products designed to inoculate at this level are not available on the homebrew [...]

Science: It Works, Bitches

Suffice it to say that I’m not so wild about religion. I have nothing against funny hats, and some of the music is very nice; it’s just that blind adherence gives me the willies. I fully acknowledge a continuum of harm, but psychologically, chemically speaking, there’s no difference between getting up earlier than you want [...]

Build a Better Stirplate

It probably isn’t necessary to stir Iodophor.

OK, so the world probably won’t be beating a path to my door. But there’s a right way to do it, and a wrong way – and a lot of home brewers are doing it the wrong way.

The basic idea behind these homebrew stirplates is to control [...]

Yeast Starters Three-dux

I’ve finished the last starter needed to round out my aeration experiments. Once again, the main post has been updated with the full data set and some additional thoughts.

Yeast Experiment Update

I was able to brew the test beers for the Yeast Pitching Rate Experiment today. Some notes on the brew session can be found on the main experimental page.

85% efficiency on a 1.059 beer, though… I do love my Barley Crusher.

Yeast Pitching Rate Experiment

Most homebrewers, once they get seriously involved in the hobby, will make starters for their beers. While the commercial yeast products are advertised as being “pitchable”, their cells counts don’t allow brewers to inoculate a 5-gallon batch of ale at the industry standard rate of about 0.75 billion/L-°P. And the true cell counts may be [...]